Student Visa Fraud Scam Uncovered; Federal Authorities Arrest 15 Chinese Citizens
The US has indicted fifteen people from China with fraud and conspiracy as they conspired to take college entrance exams on behalf of others to obtain student visas in what is alleged as a mutually beneficial scam involving students and the test-takers.
The Federal Authorities have revealed a four-year scam where prospective students paid Chinese citizens to take a test for American universities on their behalf using a fake passport mailed from China. The scammed tests include those taken by the Educational Testing Service and the College Board such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
The authorities claim that such tests have been administered since 2011. Further it has been revealed that contact was made over the internet via messaging services and photographs were solicited for fake passports which were made in China and then delivered by mail or DHL courier to the test takers in the US.
Out of the fifteen accused, 6 were identified as students who paid up to $6,000 to have others take the tests on their behalf. Another 5 defendants were the test-takers. One fellow has been identified as Han Tong, 24, who flew to California from Pittsburgh to take an SAT test for one person. The precise role of the other four defendants was not clear though it is known that one of them helped to make fake passports.
The investigation revealed that the test-takers allegedly used fake passports that contained the student's personal information but a picture of the test-taker substituted for the student.
David Hickton, U. S. Attorney stated," The test-takers impersonated others, and those others were able to use the fraudulent test scores to obtain F1 visas". These F1 or student visas allow foreign citizens to remain in the United States as long as they are enrolled in American colleges or universities.
The suspects will face charges of conspiracy, counterfeiting passports, mail and wire fraud. Ten of the suspects are resident in the US, in Boston, Pittsburgh, California, Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts.